Image Credit: TBI Media / YouTube
The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
Thirteen missing children from Shelby County who were at risk of human trafficking have now been found, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
These children were located by federal and local officials following a two-day multi-agency joint operation in Memphis, known as ‘Operation Not for Sale,’ focused specifically on locating missing juveniles deemed to be at high risk for human trafficking victimization.
The operation was a partnership between TBI, the United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services’ Absconder Unit, and the Memphis Police Department’s Human Trafficking Task Force and Organized Crime Unit.
Following preparation from intelligence analysts, the effort took place on November 2nd and 3rd. Six teams searched 56 different locations in and around Memphis, Tennessee.
Twelve children ages 11-17 were located and are now safe. An additional case was taken on during the operation involving the location and rescue of a two-month-old infant.
“Every day the United States Marshals Service hopes we have the opportunity to utilize our authority in finding missing, endangered, or abducted children in our country,” said U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee, Tyreece Miller. “This operation, in which our efforts continue, has already shown great success.”
“Multiple disciplines are necessary when dealing with the sensitive issue of human trafficking due to the immense trauma that these victims suffer,” stated TBI Director David Rausch. “This operation shows the impact of collaboration and dedication to protecting these vulnerable individuals.”
According to TBI estimates, somewhere between 500 and 600 children go missing each month in Tennessee.
In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received over 17,200 reports of child sex trafficking in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. There were also 25,000 reports of runaway children, of which, one in six are likely to become victims of human trafficking according to the organization’s data.
“Some research suggests a runaway within 48 hours of being on the street will be approached by a trafficker,” said Coasy Hale with Restore Corps, a nonprofit that participated in ‘Operation Not for Sale’ and assisted in providing services to officials.
“It’s America’s ugly secret,” said Dr. John DeGarmo, Founder and Director of the Foster Care Institute.
To report suspected human trafficking in Tennessee, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH.
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at email@example.com.